A serial fraudster who tricked men on dating websites into sending her thousands of pounds for luxury goods and holidays was spared jail.

Neelam Desai conned her victims into handing over £56,000 in an online dating scam by pretending to be raising money for homeless children.

The 36-year-old hoodwinked three victims into believing she was a pharmacist, that she did charity work and was able to sell cheap holidays and Apple products.

Her first victim, Hitesh Chauhan, sent £36,000 on the promise of electrical goods and luxury holidays in New York and Monte Carlo.

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When he realised it was a scam he was so distraught he contemplated suicide.

Deborah Charles gave Desai, of Beulah Grove, Selhurst, two years imprisonment, suspended for two years, at Croydon Crown Court on Tuesday, December 20.

Judge Charles said: "Those offences were committed over a period between December 12 and April 14.

"The amount involved is £56,000.

"On a dating website you convinced them to part with money for charitable events.

"You also claimed to be able to organise cut-price holidays and cut price electrical goods.

"Even when they became suspicious you kept trying to string them along.

"This case is so serious that only a custody sentence can be justified and the only sentence in this case is one of two years.

"It will be two years imprisonment suspended for two years.

"You will also do 120 community work.

"If you breach my order you will be coming back to this court and you will go straight to prison."

Desai's second victim Bharesh Rana, was caring for his cancer-stricken mum when he paid £3,400 for mobile phones, iPads and computers.

Prosecutor Martin Goudie said: "She said she was organising a charity event for homeless children.

"Mr Rana agreed to buy six iPhones, two MacBooks, Curry's and John Lewis Vouchers, four mini iPads and three Samsung phones.

"He did not receive those items or his money back."

The third victim Amar Kumar felt "intimidated" and lost £17,000 in the scam after being conned into paying for trips abroad.

In a witness statement read out to the court last Friday Mr Kumar said: "I was made to feel intimidated. She cheated and scammed me."

At a previous hearing the court heard how Desai "went off the rails" when her father died.

Susan Meek, representing Desai, said: "The bottom line is she committed fraud against three men and took money from them and she has to be prosecuted for that.

"Whether she needs to be returned to prison or not is something your honour has to decide.

"Since her release in April 2015 it has been very difficult for her and in many respects it will simply be poor punishment for her, she knows she has been a fraudster.

"She went off the rails when her father died and she met a man and got married and committed the fraud for him.

"She has not offended since she was released.

"She is working and willing to pay compensation orders, she fully admits we guilt.

"She had a bag, she can go back to prison and wants me to beg you not to do that."

In May 2014 she was handed 30 months in prison after writing fraudulent cheques totalling £220,000.

She was released from prison on April 15, on license until November 2016.

Her cons were uncovered by former Croydon Advertiser reporter Gareth Davies in 2014 after he received complaints from her victims.

He showed how she had conned three men out of tens of thousands of pounds online.

But when Mr Davies approached her for a comment, he was slapped with a police information notice (PIN) for 'harassing' her.

Desai was also ordered to repay her victims a total of £9,900. Mr Chauhan and Mr Kumar are to be paid £4,000 while Mr Rana will receive £1,900.